That was a lot of fun.
I kid, I kid. I handled it with the grace and maturity of an eleven year old girl who just got her period for the first time.
Six months after all this went down I was scheduled to have another pap smear. That’s standard procedure with an HPV diagnosis. I had it done in early May, right before we left for the trip down south. I was nervous, but it was totally ordinary. If you can call being cranked open and swabbed with an extra large mascara wand ordinary. At least there were no coffee grounds, no vinegar, no fancy mustard. I know, how boring!
The doc told me if the results were normal I wouldn’t hear from them. He also told me if the HPV was still in my system it was not a big deal. I was worried about being gone for a month and a half and he said if it was still an issue we could basically wait until fall for next steps and nothing bad would happen.
Hold on just a second. The results could be normal?
Yup. Seems like they are still figuring out a ton of stuff about this pesky virus, but when you have mild dysplasia the virus can clear on its own. It might come back in 6 months. Or in 10 years. Or in never. But it probably will come back. You got to keep your eye on it.
I never heard from the doctor. So I felt happy and hopeful although deep down I was sure they’d made a big mistake and just failed to call because the results were that it actually got worse. I kept wanting to write about it here, especially if the virus cleared because Yay! Happy good news post! And because if there is a good outcome maybe someone who reads this won’t be so scared when they find out they have HPV. But I didn’t want to write until I’d called the doc’s office and double checked that I’m in the clear. I couldn’t bring myself to call because I was so scared. For two months I couldn’t call.
Yesterday I tricked myself. I dialed the office before my brain could shout at me to stop. And to quote the nurse I spoke to, “Your pap was perfectly normal.” Hallelujah motherfuckers. Hallelujah.
Ladies. Get your pap smears. This was a really unpleasant experience, yes. But cliche or no, knowledge is power. I’m glad I know that HPV might be an issue for me moving forward. I’ll be more emotionally prepared and can inform my future doctors that I have a history. If we head down the cervical cancer road we’ll probably catch it really early.
Seriously, friends. Take care of yourselves and get a yearly exam at the lady doc. Don’t have insurance? I’m furious on your behalf. Go to Planned Parenthood, they have a sliding scale based on income. When I was broke and living in NYC without insurance it is where I went. Find out if there are free clinics in your area. Call your local doc and explain you don’t have insurance and ask if they will cut you a deal or recommend a low price option. I know all that is a pain in the ass. I know you shouldn’t have to do it. I know it is easy for me to say because I have insurance and don’t have to do a ridiculous dance to try and get myself to the doctor’s. I used to be there, though. And I might not have gotten regular physicals or gone to the dentist, but since I was 16 I haven’t skipped a year at the Gynecologist. This is your long term health we are talking about. Take care of yourself. Figure out a way to make your yearly exam happen.
And if you are a young woman get the vaccine! If you are a parent make sure both your daughters and sons get it as well. You better bet my boys will get theirs. Men transmit this virus. They can be part of the solution.
Ok, slouching off the soapbox for now.
In other very crazy news I’m working out. Here is some very honest, very unfiltered before and after action.
Channeling the 80’s. He’s my flashdance boy.
Early morning Daddy love.